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Published: April 20th 2012
When people think about Bangkok they probably think of the various Wat's and ancient structures that surrounds Thailand. Bangkok is a dichotomy of two cities. The old city which runs parallel to the Chao Phraya river and the newer city which runs closer to Silom and Sukhumvit area.
From central pier take the ferry to stop #8 Tha Tien and walk through a small market area. From there you will see a huge white concrete fenced enclosure, that is the Grand Palace. The structures on the opposite sides are known as Wat Pho, where you can see the reclining Buddha's. From the main road you can see the beautiful wat's sparkling in the sunlight signifying its grand presence. Immediately you are struck by its beauty and magnificence. Reds, greens, whites, blue emeralds, gold all set ambiance for what you are about to see.
The grand place is just that, grand. We thought we could do the Grand Palace, Wat Arun (across the river), Wat Pho and Khao San road all in one day. Forget it. We ended up at the grand palace around 2pm (we went to the Wat Pho first), which is right in the blistering,
mid day sun. Know I am not one to complain about heat, but this place has no shade. If you plan to go there, try to go in the early morning or take an umbrella to block out the sun.
There are many scams outside the grand palace. People dressed as officials will tell you the palace is closed and often take you somewhere else. Luckily we were told about that before and again told by the hotel not to pay any attention to these people. The palace is indeed open 7 days a week and only closed on holidays. As you approach the palace you will hear over the loud speaker in English, notifications telling tourists the palace is indeed open and to proceed inside to buy the tickets. We had no trouble getting in and had no hassles. The cost to get in is around 400 baht ($13) per person.
The Grand Palace is a series of buildings each section tiled in a different colour. Many of the buildings pay homage to the Buddha so you must be properly dressed to get inside. No shorts, tank tops or mini-skirts. The roofs are tiled in gorgeous teal,
gold/red and green to mark the different areas. Many of the temples have elaborate glass, ceramics and painting which give it its beautiful, memorizing appearance. It reminded me a lot of the grand places in Rajastan where many of the walls and rooms are adorned with mirror, glass and coloured stones.
We made our way to the various buildings taking in the surroundings, while trying to keep cool. There are a number of museums inside the walled area such as the weapons museum and ceramics. Plan to spend about 2-3 hours here at least if you want to visit the various buildings. We didn't go into all of the museums, but did stop at the cafe for a frozen smoothie. The price here is around 240 baht ($8) for a Hagen Das drink. I think I would have paid anything for something cold by that point as well as a place to relax and soak it all in.
Try to bundle the Grand Palce, Wat Arun and Wat Pho all together if you can. You don't need a guide to this, we did it on our own, it's very straight forward if you have some time
to do it.
This is a definitely a must see for your trip to Bangkok.
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